The Day in Photos: New Life Foundation

The Day in Photos: New Life Foundation

After a week of volunteering, yoga, thinking about our problems, talking about our problems, and eating the weight of our problems in Thai food, on Saturdays we all get to do a little bit less of each. Well, except the eating Thai food part. In fact, this past weekend a vegetarian chef from Chiang Mai visited the foundation to give our cooks a lesson on making awesome animal-friendly dishes. On Saturdays, kids from the local village are invited to use the foundation’s pool. At first, I wasn’t sure how’d they feel about me taking pictures, but after a tentative first snap they were literally pushing each other under water to get in front of the camera....
Volunteering at the New Life Foundation in Thailand

Volunteering at the New Life Foundation in Thailand

Four miniature Buddhas vibrated on the dashboard as my cab made its way through the Chiang Rai country-side. The entire car was upholstered with a pattern of swirling gold and hot pink leaves, giving the impression it had been borrowed from Enlightened Barbie. Outside the glowing interior, we passed rice fields, markets, and farms. As usual, I was easily entertained. I played an overly-enthusiastic version of I Spy Things Not Seen on a DC Cab Ride: Man with cow! Mountains. Family on a scooter! Palmtreeplamtreeplamtreepalmtree. Man with goat! I was finally on the road to the New Life Foundation, my first volunteer stint in Thailand. They are a recovery center that uses a program based on mindfulness to assist people who are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Volunteers come and work during the week and then can take advantage of classes, life coaching, the steam room, the pool … for only $300 a month. It’s a sort of help-others/help-yourself combo pack. After a few minutes down a one-way road, we finally turned onto a long gravel drive-way … and there I was. What was once just a fleeting Google search result about some remote place half-way across the world, was now my reality for the next month. I checked-in, unpacked my bags, and started to explore. The grounds are made up of an office, two long buildings with fifty single bedrooms (everyone has their own room, if you discount the ants and geckos), a main dining hall, a pool, and two meditation/yoga spaces. Despite the fact that many residents are in the middle of pretty raw stuff (some...
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